President Obama, under increasing pressure to demonstrate that the United States is joining European nations in the effort to resettle Syrian refugees, has told his administration to take in at least 10,000 displaced Syrians over the next year.
At a briefing at the White House on Thursday, the press secretary, Josh Earnest, said the United States would “accept at least 10,000 refugees in the next fiscal year,” which begins Oct. 1.
Earlier, Secretary of State John Kerry, said at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill that that the total number of refugees taken in by the United States could rise to more than 100,000, from the current figure of 70,000. State Department officials said that not all of the additional 30,000 would be Syrians, but many would be.
But Mr. Earnest said members of Congress “misunderstood” Mr. Kerry when he said the number of refugees could rise to as high as 100,000 next year. Mr. Earnest emphasized that the administration had no intention of relaxing the significant and lengthy criminal and terrorist background vetting procedures demanded of refugee applicants, an expensive process that can take 18 to 24 months to complete.
“To scale up to a degree that some members of Congress have in mind would have some significant fiscal consequences,” Mr. Earnest said.
The United States offered expedited resettlement to refugees of the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Mr. Earnest said that Syrian refugees would not get similar treatment and that the president would “not sign off on a process that cuts corners” on security guarantees for the United States.
Read more: NY Times